Author Richard Schiver kindly asked me the following ten questions about my novel-in-progress. Thanks for asking, Richard. ~~GInger
What is the title of your book?
“The Party Line". The title is representative of all four definitions of the term party line, from the literal telephone circuit connecting two or more subscribers within a single exchange, to an explanation usually put forth. [from Free Merriam Webster Dictionary]
How did you come by the idea?
The Party Line's initial conflict is loosely based on an incident that happened the summer after I graduated from high school.
What genre does your book fall under?
Ooh, the dreaded “G” word: Genre is my least favorite label, and I despise labels in general. I guess if I must, I'd say Humor, Southern or Appalachian literature.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
Sami Gayle (photo at left) is ideal to portray my protagonist; Emma Thompson is a great choice to play the mom, and Colin Firth, the father; Grace Jones would bring Lucy to life in a magical way.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Bigoted gossip nearly destroys a family in 1975, when an unlikely alliance between a black elevator operator and a white department store owner is formed which exposes community hypocrisy and offers far-reaching redemption.
Will your book be self-published or traditional?
My best guess is that it will initially be self-published.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I began writing it during National Novel Writing Month in November 2005. I suffered a stroke midway through the month, and set it aside. Then I lost the manuscript during a computer crash and feared my words were gone forever. Last winter, the Universe gifted it back to me, and I've been working on it since. So while it's been seven years, it's really only been about a year all-told. Of course, I haven't finished it, either.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Perhaps Jean Shepherd's In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash or Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace (you can access Daniel Wallace's blog through my Links section).
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
There were a number of people in my life who needed to find redemption and healing, even if only within my imagination. I sought to provide it by writing “The Party Line.” And it's a book whose time has come. I began it several years prior to “The Help.” There are a few parallels between the two.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I play with Time in interesting ways in “The Party Line.” I lift the edge of the rug and expose 1970's societal problems including bigotry, mainstream drug abuse, patriarchy, class issues, and white privilege. And yet, the book is funny, the story uplifting and hopeful. Redemption is possible even under the darkest of circumstances.